I read these passages for the first time on my iPad while waiting for an appointment. I found that afterward I procrastinated even longer than usual because there was nothing that stood out to me as a jumping off point for my reflection. When I returned to the readings, on the due date, I used the Bible that was given to me on my confirmation. When I got to the Gospel lesson I noticed that I had flagged a verse within the passage: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest within him.” It’s not common for me to mark passages and while it was not immediately evident to me why I did in this case, it caused me to think through it.
It’s been my experience that we are often looking for the answer to why: why is something the way it is? Why is someone the way they are? Whether it is in a mundane, everyday kind of way: “Why did the weather turn out this way and ruin my day?” (Insert any unexpected event that spoils plans), or in a more impactful, pervasive way: “Why does my child have autism?” (Insert any illness or affliction that a loved one has experienced). You almost need to identify a reason or a source to blame. It is as if relief can come from knowing it’s not your fault or that there was nothing you could do to prevent that particular thing from happening.
What this passage reminds us is not to ask “Why?” but rather to focus on God’s presence among us, especially when we feel dejected, rejected, and neglected. During Lent it is common to be more repentant and reflective. Let’s honor these forty days by using the time to also recalibrate, so that beyond Lent we can bring a renewed lens to whatever people or circumstances challenge us. Let us open our eyes and hearts to God made manifest in and around us.
— Erika Viccelio